Connecticut Medicare Savings Program (MSP) Changes – January 2018: A Guide to Help Individuals Impacted

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What is Changing?

NOTE: Updated information, January 3, 2018The effective date of any Medicare Savings Program eligibility changes has been extended to July 1, 2018.  Governor Malloy has directed the Department of Social Services to further delay eligibility changes legislated in the bipartisan budget (Public Act 17-2, Section 50).

DSS will continue to keep beneficiaries informed as the process is put into place.  To review a copy of the notification, see the DSS MSP website page at: http://portal.ct.gov/DSS/Health-And-Home-Care/Medicare-Savings-Program/Medicare-Savings-Program

The 2017 Connecticut State budget (Public Act 17-2, Section 50) reduced income eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), which assists elderly and disabled individuals with the monthly cost of their Medicare premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses. Starting on January 1, 2018, these new income guidelines will go into effect for the three levels of MSP.

Individuals receiving the Low Income Subsidy (LIS), a program that provides extra help paying for Medicare D prescription coverage, will be able to keep that coverage until January 1, 2019.

For more information about the new income and eligibility guidelines, or to apply for MSP, visit: http://portal.ct.gov/DSS/Health-And-Home-Care/Medicare-Savings-Program/Medicare-Savings-Program. 

Also visit the State Department on Aging’s website at http://www.ct.gov/agingservices/cwp/view.asp?Q=599134&A=2513 for detailed information about the changes and the following informational guides:

How Will the Changes Affect Individuals?

As a result of the MSP eligibility changes, some Connecticut residents will move from one MSP level to another level, and other individuals will no longer be eligible at all. If you no longer qualify for any of the Medicare Savings Programs:

NOTE: Medicare beneficiaries affected by the hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are eligible for a special enrollment period (SEP) through March 31, 2018. This SEP provides affected individuals with an additional one-time opportunity to add, drop or change their Medicare health and prescription drug plans.  For more details visit: https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/Emergency/Downloads/Extension-SE-Period-PR-VI-CA-Wildfire.pdf

How Can 2-1-1 Help With Other Resources?

Individuals who no longer qualify for the Medicare extra assistance they have been receiving will need information and guidance. If you were previously receiving monthly extra help paying for Medicare, your monthly budget is now going to change. Outlined below are some other community services and programs that may be able to help your budget in other ways.

Food & Grocery Expenses

If you are having more deducted each month now from your Social Security check for Medicare premiums, you may not have the same amount of money you did before each month for food and groceries. There are free and low-cost programs, however, that individuals can utilize to help lower their monthly food costs.

Utility Expenses

Utility and phone costs can also be a strain on the monthly budget, especially during the winter months with increased energy costs. There are programs you may qualify for to help with energy and other utility expenses.

Medical Expenses

If you are changing to a different MSP level or no longer qualify at all for the program, you may need extra help paying for medical expenses that were previously covered. There are supplemental Medicare policies to consider purchasing, other Medicaid programs you may be eligible for, as well as charitable and hospital programs that may be able to assist with unpaid bills.

Other Helpful Programs

If you want to make a complaint about this latest budget decision, you can call or write your local representative. Visit www.211ct.org and type in keyword State Legislature Offices or dial 2-1-1.

 


SOURCES: 2-1-1 United Way of Connecticut Database; Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS)
PREPARED BY: 211/tb
CONTENT LAST MODIFIED: January2018